Introducing solids to baby for the first time as you transition from breast milk or formula.
Daily RequirementsOn average, a baby requires 600 calories per day by age 4 months, and around 750 calories per day by one year, according to American Academy of Pediatrics Fellow Dr. J.J. Levenstein.
"Once solid foods are started, it’s important to introduce variety, as baby’s intake of B vitamins, iron, calcium, zinc, and electrolytes should come from solid as well as liquid sources of nutrition. Expect that breast milk or formula intake will decrease as baby gets more into eating*. A typical baby between 4-6 months of age may only eat 1-2 ounces of solids at each meal (that’s 2-4 tablespoons), and by 8-9 months double or triple that."
* The primary source of nutrition in baby’s first year is from breast milk or formula.
* Most Infant cereals are fortified with iron.
Why Organic?According to the AAP, choosing certified organic fruits and vegetables may reduce pesticide exposure, and choosing certified organic meats and dairy products may reduce exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, says registered dietician nutritionist Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RD, LD.
It’s also important to consider that certified organic meats and dairy products are sourced from animals that are not administered growth hormones, and that any food that is certified USDA Organic is prohibited from using GMO ingredients.
"Pediatricians and registered dieticians alike recommend using the 'Dirty Dozen' list as a resource for prioritizing which certified organic foods to buy.” adds Coleman Collins.
Grains 101While not a necessity, most infants’ first food is a single grain cereal such as rice or oatmeal, as they tend to be gentle on babies tummies. Cereals made from whole grains inherently provide fiber, vitamins and minerals,* and when children begin eating whole grains early, they tend to develop a preference for those unique flavors for a lifetime of healthy eating.
Reommended GrainsDr. Coleman recommends a variety of grains in order to get the most nutrients:
• Rice cereal is bland and simple. For the most
nutritious choice, select brown rice cereal. It’s very
easy to digest; it’s unlikely to elicit a food sensitivity;
and it provides a smooth texture for introducing
• Oatmeal has fiber and is slightly more textured than
• Whole wheat farina and multigrain cereals are the
most nutritional ways to introduce your baby to wheat,
since the germ contains many nutrients and has not been removed.
• A hearty grain, barley is also a nutritious addition to a growing grain repertoire for baby.
Why Ella's Kitchen Infant Foods?Ella’s Kitchen® brand infant and toddler foods strive to help parents instill healthy eating habits to last a lifetime by offering a range of tasty, natural, and healthy certified USDA organic foods for babies and kids.
Ella’s Kitchen® brand ranges were specially developed to include a unique variety of flavors, such as their apples, spinach + rutabagas, chick-chick chicken casserole, mmmmm macaroni + cheese with carrots and mmmmm cauliflower cheese + lima bean—all made with real ingredients to expose a wide variety of thrilling tastes at an early age.
Try any of their Ella’s® 1 baby food purees; they’re made with only high quality ingredients—no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives or added water—to generate really big tastes for tiny taste buds.
Understanding the StagesIt all starts with the Ella’s Kitchen First Tastes range, developed for baby’s first bites. Each super-smooth fruit puree is made from just one certified organic fruit, plus a dash of lemon juice. Their wakey wakey mango, banana + strawberry baby cereal is a whole grain baby cereal with nothing else added—not even a smidge of refined sugars.
Ella's 1 StageOnce your little one masters single-ingredient purees, try the unique flavor combos in the Ella’s® 1 range—made with just fruit and veggie purees and a dash of lemon juice! Nothing else added, not even water. Gluten-free, vegetarian, certified organic purees such as apples sweet potatoes pumpkin blueberries, or apples carrots + parsnips keep tiny taste buds exploring new flavors.
Ella’s fruit + baby rice purees are ideal for hungry babies; when you’re ready to introduce dairy, Ella’s Kitchen Baby Brekkie® is a filling breakfast that combines brown rice and yogurt with super-smooth fruit puree.
Ella's Kitchen Baby MealsAs baby’s eating skills continue to develop, try Ella’s Kitchen® baby meals, which combine new protein sources, herbs, spices, vegetables, and grains in a thicker texture. The very, very tasty vegetable bake with lentils and mouthwatering beef medley with vegetables + potatoes are just two of their deeelicious flavors.
Toddler SnacksFinally, Ella’s Kitchen® toddler snacks offer a variety of wholesome meals with soft lumps, perfect for when your little one is ready to chew and give those new teeth a proper workout! Yummy snacks include Nibbly Fingers—which not only taste good but also help babies new textures and gripping.
Suggested Feeding Schedule"If a baby is hungry, into food, and it tastes good, feed them!" advises Levenstein, who lays out the following schedule as a loose guideline:
• Upon waking: breast milk or infant formula feeding
• 2-3 hours later, when baby is looking a little hungry:
breakfast (yogurt, fruit, cereal, or egg), followed by
breast- or formula feeding
• 2-3 hours later, at lunchtime: fruit, vegetable, protein,
and grain, followed by breast or bottle
• Mid-afternoon: breast or formula feeding
• 2-3 hours later, at dinnertime: fruit, vegetable, protein,
and grain, then bath (to give a little time to digest and
get hungry again), then breast or formula feeding,
then book and bed.
Getting Started"Focus on vegetables, then fruits, whole grains, meats, and dairy," says Coleman. "No milk before 12 months of age, but yogurt and cheese are good choices. You can also add some herbs and spices (like cinnamon in oatmeal), but avoid adding salt and sugar."
Introducing New Foods• "Introduce a new food every 3-4 days, and give progressively more of the food at each subsequent feeding," says Levenstein.
• "Once baby has tried something 8-10 times, you can move on to a new food."
• "Alternate fruits and veggies until there are 6-8 total on the list, then add proteins or iron-enriched grains."
• "And as teeth come in and baby is grinding and gnawing on things, start adding chunks the size of a corn kernel or pea."
• "If food can be smashed between your fingers with little effort, it's usually good to go for a developing eater."
Testing AllergensBoth Levenstein and Coleman agree that it's important to introduce potential allergens—shellfish, eggs, soy—early if there is no family history of allergens "There’s evidence now that incorporating proteins earlier in the diet will likely reduce the chances of food allergies later," explains Levenstein.
The First Feeding"Seat baby in a pleasant room with good lighting, and be sure you're not in a hurry," suggests Levenstein. "Younger babies can sit in a bouncy or car seat and babies who can sit upright on their own (usually at 6-8 months) will do well in high chairs. Use a small spoon and fill it—it's okay. Typically, baby will reject the spoon on the first few attempts, until he realizes something good is on it. Even then, mouth and tongue coordination is only building, so expect baby to sputter and spit, hiccup, and sometimes regurgitate food right in front of you."
The First FoodAnd what should we serve? "You can start with rice cereal," says Coleman, "but you certainly don't have to. Since rice cereal is very unlikely to cause a food sensitivity and is very easy to digest, it is a good first food. However, so are mashed sweet potatoes or carrots, pureed green peas, or pureed pumpkin." (Note: Start with single foods to identify any potential food sensitivities and consult with your pediatrician on any family history of allergies).
Do'sLevenstein encourages parents to…
• Aim for a variety of colors, flavors and textures when selecting foods
• Speak with enthusiasm about the food you're serving
• Serve new foods alongside familiar foods
• Prepare the same food in different ways (roasted, steamed, baked)
• Offer something over and over and over again. "It may take more than a dozen introductions before a baby accepts a new food," she says
• Offer foods in manageable pieces and appropriate portion sizes
• Thoroughly wash produce to reduce incidence of foodborne pathogens
Don'tsLevenstein reminds parents not to…
• Not to give honey in the first year
• Not to give raw or partially cooked protein (rare meat, runny eggs)
• To notify a pediatrician if a rash, wheeze, or vomiting occur after repeated feeding (since it may be a sign of a food sensitivity or allergy
• Never turn your back or leave the room when baby is eating. Not ever. She also encourages parents to learn CPR
Ella's® mango, banana + strawberry cereal Ella's®
fruit + baby rice
super smooth baby food purees
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